Truth is stranger than fiction, and has better acting

For reasons unassociated with my personal viewing preferences, we have been watching movies on the Syfy channel of late. This is the outlet where up-and-coming actors and screen writers practice as they wait for a big break that will earn them recurring roles on Lifetime, thus winning them fame and respect for their craft.

The two big blockbusters we watched recently were Sharknado and Snowmageddon. Sharknado was a tornado made up, or at least consisting largely, of sharks. Rather than sucking things up, as might be expected of your garden variety tornado, Sharknado spit things out, namely sharks. It is possible that it may have originally sucked them up from the ocean, or SeaWorld, but I missed the beginning and I don’t want to make assumptions, as I am not a trained Meteorsharkologist.

Storm's comin'!

Too much said?

In spite of the shocking nature of the material, the acting was outstanding. The sharks nailed all of their lines. I think many of them did their own stunts. If not, the stunt doubles were made up perfectly; I couldn’t tell the difference between the stunt sharks and the lead actors.

Snowmageddon was about a winter storm that, beyond hurling wind and snow at innocent folks, also shot at them. I’m not talking about real bullets; that would be ridiculous. This snow storm shot flaming chunks of ice that exploded into fireballs on contact, just as you would expect to see any bad winter storm do.

It's not winter without fireballs

I knew I should have bought a snow blower this year.

At first, I thought this was Mother Nature’s revenge for our cavalier use of fossil fuels, but then Snowmageddon appeared to take special pleasure from attacking a bus. Well, Mama N., if you insist on destroying our means of mass transit, I guess there’s nothing we can do to please you. We might better learn to take our flaming ice beatings like men, or add extra horse power to our vehicles so we can run away faster.

Incidentally, all of this wacky weather was caused by an enchanted snow globe. Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about carbon footprints and start questioning our need for dangerous souvenir collections.

Shortly before we switched the TV over to the Smurfs movie, my son asked me about Snowmageddon, “Daddy, is this fiction?”


“Because it’s not real?”


“Was the shark tornado movie fiction?”


“Then what about aliens? Are they non-fiction?”

This wasn’t so easy. Though I’ve had conversations with space aliens online, I’ve never met one face to face. Still, the universe is a big place.

Before I could begin to formulate an appropriately wishy-washy reply, he answered for me. He pointed his finger directly at me and exclaimed, “Yes! Aliens are real!”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Because there was a show about them on the History Channel.”

I’m not sure which channels to get my news from anymore.

Let’s just watch the Smurfs. They’re good, honest folk. Salt of the Earth. Real people.

It may not qualify as a cherished childhood memory

My wife is diligent about giving our boys different experiences to fill their childhood.  She is especially skilled at sniffing out free events. Unfortunately, we are often a step behind on the details when we set about our adventures. We might arrive at the wrong time or pull up to an abandoned building with an address almost like the one where all the wonderful childhood memories are being handed out.

Our eldest son likes the old Batman TV show and our younger boy enjoys singing the theme song. When we learned that Adam West was due to make two appearances at our university, we immediately marked the date on our calendar.

We explained to our four-year-old that this was the actor who played Batman; he wouldn’t be in costume and he would be older than he looked on TV. Even so, the boy was excited to see him. The little boy didn’t care who it was. He’d sing his song for Burt Ward if he had to.

I had to work, but my wife got the boys to the student union in time for the afternoon autograph session. This great success was marred only by the fact that the event was happening elsewhere. When this troubling detail was discovered, it was too late to make it in time. We’d have to try for the later event.

We made sure that the evening appearance was indeed located at the student union before setting out. The big boy brought his Batman mask and cape from two Halloweens ago. In the car, the little boy spontaneously burst into his rendition of the Batman theme song.

We imagined the great photo we would get of our young Batman with the original Caped Crusader. We thought about how tickled Mr. West would be to hear a song so near and dear to him from the mouth of a babe. He might even tell the story in future interviews. Maybe he would recount it in a memoir.

At the union, there were rows of chairs set out before a stage. It looked like Mr. West wanted to give a talk before signing autographs. We found seats and immediately swung into keep the toddler contented mode.

From what I heard, before the toddler bolted from the room, Adam West sounds like a funny, humble man. I spent the last half playing out in the hall. At last, people started streaming out. It was odd that they didn’t stay for autographs.

We went back into the room to find my wife and the big boy among the few people left. Not among them was Adam West. Apparently, the earlier event had been the only autograph session. Details!

It wasn’t a total loss though. The little boy had a great time playing in the hall; my wife learned several fun facts about the career of Adam West; and the big boy got an awesome photograph of himself with a poster of the senior citizen who once was Batman. Not too shabby.

Pitcuter with a picture

He’ll always remember the day he posed for a picture with a lady holding a poster of a guy in prop sweater.